Are There Any Celtic Words in English?

Nicholas C. Rossis

Cornwall carvings | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book
400-year-old labyrinth carvings on the rocks in Rocky Valley, North Cornwall, England

Long-time followers of my blog may remember my post on the origins of English. The language tree in that post shows that English is largely derived from Germanic, specifically Anglo-Frisian.

So, where are the Celts? Are there no Celtic words in English?

As several of Quora answers explain, there are several – but far fewer than might be expected. Take one of my favorite British English colloquialisms, “smashing,” which is used to mean “really rather good.” Smashing may actually be an Anglicization of the Scottish Gaelic phrase is math sin, “that is good” (although some linguists question that).

The English word “twig” in the sense of suddenly catch on, and the hippy word “dig,” meaning to be really involved in, both come from Scots Gaelic tuig, understand.

Then there are several irish, Celtic, and Cymraeg…

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